‘Young Reviewers Scheme’ winner - Macbeth by Kim Hall

Tara Arts' production of Macbeth.
Tara Arts' production of Macbeth.

The latest team of would-be reviewers from secondary schools in the Harrogate district showed off their writing skills in their assignment at Harrogate Theatre.

Their mission, set by the theatre’s education and workshop leader Hannah Draper in the Young Reviewers Scheme with the Harrogate Advertiser Series, was to write their own review of a new Asian-flavoured production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

What follows is a review of the play by Kim Hall of Harrogate College.

Macbeth, Harrogate Theatre.

When you think of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, you generally wouldn’t picture it being set in India. However, thanks to the combined work of Tara Arts, Queen’s Hall Arts and Black Theatre Live, the adaptation of the play works very well.

Robert Mountford is wonderful as Macbeth, with Shaheen Khan’s impressive Lady Macbeth. With the rest of the cast multi-roling brilliantly, portraying the differences between each character fluidly and clearly, they each bring their own flair to the performance.

The work of the actors is supported throughout the play by Rax Timyr who, using his vocal and drumming skills creates sound effects, music and tension through the duration of the play.

Director Jatinder Verma has created a clever production, mixing the two worlds of Shakespeare and Asia, taking elements of each to create a performance that works with both the Shakespearean script and the more modern Asian setting.

Unlike Shakespeare, however, most of the fighting is not done with weapons, but with the body, using brilliantly choreographed fight sequences that look amazing thanks to fight director Kev McCurdy.

Costuming is effective, ranging from the bright and colourful saris of the Hijras (in place of the Witches), to more modern clothing, including suits and long coats, the costumes showed social status and also gave a visual representation of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s growth in power but also their decent into madness, with their clothes getting finer but darker as the play progresses.

Lighting and scenery are mostly kept to a minimum, which was effective as it gives more focus on the action onstage.

Props and scenery were interacted with fluidly, in a more physical theatre way than the rest of the play. Small amounts of song and dance interject throughout the play, bringing a more upbeat tone to certain aspects of the piece.

Overall, the performance was powerful and brilliantly put together, the acting was amazing and the effects were good.

Kim Hall